You are in the dating scene and you are thinking it is the right time to settle down. Somehow, you have to narrow down the profiles. There is this broke guy, who showers you with all the attention, he works hard, but the skies have not yet smiled on him. Then, there is the moneyed man, who has been giving you the side-eye, but you have to compete for his time. Which should one is ideal?
On one hand, you are afraid that you might be labelled materialistic by shunning broke men and going for the rich. On the other, you are afraid that dating a poor man is a risk that hardly pays off. After all, you have seen broke men desert or cheat on the women who stood by them when they had nothing.
The poor and insecure
Jolene Lubanga, who is the head of marketing at a Nairobi-based Tours and Travel company, says it is important for a man to be financially stable. “I have previously dated a man who made less money than I do. Our relationship started strongly. I even thought I would get married to him, but we soon hit the rocks because of the differences in our earnings,” she says. Her man was in a perpetual state of insecurity. He was afraid that Jolene would overpower him.
“He could not accept that I would stay faithful to him regardless of our pay gap,” says Jolene who is in her 30s. In the end, she could not take it any longer and decided to quit the relationship.
The rich and secure
One of the fears you may have about dating a poor man regardless of his potential to get rich in the future is the financial insecurity of the relationship. Rebecca Ndirangu who runs a wedding catering business, says she prefers the comfort and assurance of the money at the bank to the feelings in the heart.
“I can love a man but I would never marry him if he is poor. Having potential does not mean you will get rich,” she says.
She adds that a man ought to have adequate cash that can also be occasionally shared with his extended family. “If he is unable to send something to his mother or his college-going sister, how will he be able to take care of me or our children?” she poses.
According to Dr. David Ludden, the author of Modern Psychology, women’s preferences tilt in favour of money over looks because of economic demands. “Mating choices have economic consequences. Women would not go for looks as much as they do if they did not have to worry about the economic repercussions of choosing looks over money,” he says.
The beautiful and the rich
When it comes to a dating beauty contest, the poor man will hardly win over the most beautiful woman in the pool. According to Dr Chris Hart, the author of Single & Searching, the most beautiful women are looking for men with the highest social status, which usually means rich.
“The downside to this is that the man, rich or averagely stable may subconsciously spend way beyond his financial ability to show he can afford it,” says Dr Hart.
How to choose
According to psychologist Ken Munyua, a career woman looking for love should go for a man at her level, or slightly below her level.
“The minimum should be a man who earns slightly lower than you but has the grit to improve his earning ability. You can measure this by checking his financial habits. If he earns less and is a spendthrift, chances are that he could drag you into his poor financial habits,” he says.
Quick takeaway stats
A survey of 28,000 heterosexual men and women aged between 18 and 75 that was conducted by researchers at Chapman University in Orange, California found out that:
• 46 per cent of women consider it very important for the men they are currently dating to earn more than they do.
• 42 per cent of women will favour financial ability over heavy bodyweight.
• 76 per cent of men prefer to date women who earn less.
• 95 per cent of men with an advanced degree prefer dating good looking, slender women to rich women.